Two pints of lager and a tin of sardines

Here’s one for the pub this weekend: omega-3 fortified Bacardi Breezers, or
maybe a Tropical Reef with the rest of the aquarium thrown in? Make mine an
old-fashioned snowball made with omega-3 fortified eggs

New research has shown that binge drinking plays havoc with the population’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Working with data collected from 4,168 adults whose self-reported alcohol consumption and dietary fatty acid intake were measured as part of the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Norman Salem Jr. of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism joined forces with colleagues from other divisions on the National Institutes of Health in the US. The team were building on previous research that shown shown that alcohol affects drinkers’ food choices, while itself making a disproportionate and increasing contribution towards daily energy intake. The full paper is available from the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

What Salem Jr. and his colleagues found was firstly that current drinkers were significantly younger on average than non-drinkers. No surprises there; the news is full of reports about the alcopop generation and their antics. Just look at Lindsay and Paris’ high profile drinking careers. And just like the police officers arresting them, these drinkers seem younger and younger every year.

As alcohol consumption increased, the study reports an increasing energy intake and a decrease in the mean nutrient density decreased for total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), n-3 PUFA and n-6 PUFA, whether alcohol was included in the energy density calculation or not. However, this relationship only held true in male drinkers

One thing the authors of this study do point out, though, is the results of an Australian study of food composition, that meat may make a major contribution to the dietary intake of n-3 long chain PUFA, due simply to the amounts eaten. So maybe that Friday night kebab’s not such a bad idea, then.

If you want to find out more about any of the issues raised in this blog, have a go at searching the CAB Abstracts database. Sadly, we don’t have a photo of Lindsay Lohan. But the Santa Monica Police Department do. They’ve also got Paris Hilton‘s.

CAB Abstracts is, however, overflowing with information about alcohol consumption; it is also swimming with reminders about how useful dietary omega-3 fatty acids are.

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